Cheat Sheet – Vitamin D & SPF


Gone are the days of my youth basting on a foil suntanning sheet with baby oil.
These days the sun hits and the spf gets dragged out of the cupboard quicker than you can say ‘Lobster’. Well that could be your first mistake. Check for an expiration date – if it doesn’t have one – assume it will only last a year – you may need to buy a fresh batch. Painful if it’s still half full I know!

And then how much do you apply?? And how high a factor? And WHICH one to use?

Some very brief and general rules of thumb for sun-bunnies and the not-so-keen!

  • Use broad spectrum sunscreen – UVA and UVB (A for aging, B for burning)

UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, gradually destroying elasticity and causing premature ageing. UVB rays cause skin damage and can alter the structure of skin cells, and ultimately lead to possible skin cancer.

  •  Use enough

Most people apply too little sunscreen. This results in sunscreen users achieving an SPF of between 50-80% less than that specified on the product label. You need at least a teaspoon full for each body part – arm, leg (tablespoon for me thanks!), front, back and face – don’t forget your ears and neck.

Vitamin D

I love a bit of vitamin D.  I rant to anyone who will listen about all number of supplements – but vit D has been my obsession for a while.  So below is a rant, I’m not your GP – this is food for thought – not a prescription folks.
As much as too much sun can be bad for you – really bad for you – so too, can too little sun.  In the northern hemisphere where most people living modern life spend a larger proportion of their time indoors and with most of their skin surface covered by clothing or sunscreen when outdoors, there is a growing deficiency in vitamin D.  Vit D needs to be present for the intestines to absorb dietary calcium – so much so in cases where children have been sheltered and covered up since birth, this has lead to an increase in non-nutrition related rickets in Australia.

Vitamin D is actually in its truest form, a hormone – and is essential for our well-being, yet the use of sunscreens prevents the development of Vit D in the body.  Vitamin D also degrades as quickly as it generates – giving another stumbling block to retaining it in our system.

No lecturing – just some facts – a nice little list of what vit D actually does for you…

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of the flu and complications of flu.
Vitamin D contributes to lowering the incidence of infections and inflammation during the fall-winter flu season. The Canadian government has recommended increased Vitamin D intake as part of their flu prevention strategy, including prevention of Swine Flu.

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of depression. 
Better than prozac surely?!  

Vitamin D can reduce chronic muscle aching and pain.
Vitamin D helps to normalize blood calcium which is required for tight shortened muscles to soften, lengthen and relax out of spasm. When calcium is available to the muscles, menstrual cramps lessen!

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of cancer.
Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with increased incidence of many cancers.

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack and atherosclerosis (build up of fat in the arteries – high cholesterol!).

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of developing Type 1 Diabetes by 80 percent.

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of getting autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBS and Lupus.
Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with increased auto- immune attack, breakdown of your own tissues and loss of normal functions. Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis by 40 percent.

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of bone fractures, bone loss and osteoporosis.

Dark skinned people make less Vitamin D than those with light skin.

Aging skin makes 75 percent less Vitamin D than young skin.

Vitamin D rich foods include cold water fish such as wild salmon, wild cod and sardines and cod liver oil. However, you would need to eat mammoth amounts of these foods to build up your Vitamin D stores.

So cover up – just don’t cover up TOO much ALL of the time!